7:22pm: Baez is promised a total of $12.5MM, per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (Twitter links). That includes a $500K signing bonus, successive salaries of $4.5MM and $5.5MM, and with a $2MM buyout of a $7.5MM club option.
The pact also contains some other financial provisions. Baez could add up to $1MM to his 2022 salary depending upon how many innings he throws. He could boost the buyout to $2.5MM and the option price to $8MM through innings-pitched-based escalators.
6:22pm: The deal includes an option for a third year, escalators and a buyout, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who tweets that the total value could range from $12MM to $14MM. It’s a team option, per Mark Berman of Fox 26.
5:05pm: The Astros have agreed to a two-year contract with free-agent reliever Pedro Baez, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports. Financial details aren’t yet known, and the deal is pending a physical. Baez is a Kelvin Nova client.
The Astros are landing a proven late-game option in the right-handed Baez, who recorded a 3.03 ERA with a 25.3 percent strikeout rate and an 8.2 percent walk rate over 356 innings as a Dodger from 2014-20. Baez put up a 3.18 ERA during his last season with Los Angeles, though he notched a much less encouraging 4.98 SIERA along the way and easily registered career-worst numbers in average fastball velocity (94.4 mph), strikeout rate (18.6) and swinging-strike percentage (12.4). The year before that, Baez managed 96 mph velo, a strikeout percentage of 25.0 and a 15.0 percent swinging-strike rate.
Addressing the relief corps has been a known point of emphasis this offseason for Astros general manager James Click, who signed former Ray and Marlin Ryne Stanek before agreeing to the Baez deal. The club was also in on Liam Hendriks before he agreed to a pact with the White Sox and has been linked to Brad Hand, Trevor Rosenthal and Alex Colome. Any of the latter three would seemingly be more impactful additions than Baez and Stanek, so the Astros may not be done trying to upgrade a bullpen that dealt with significant health issues in 2020 and finished a middle-of-the-pack 15th in the majors in ERA (4.39).